Is Dubai in a recession (late 2019)? Businesses are closing and companies are retrenching. The Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 51.6 from 55.1 in July 2019, declining for the third month, and properties are selling at a discount.
Is this really the best time to think about working in Dubai? I would say yes.
One thing I’ve learnt from observing Dubai over the past 20 years is that the people in charge know how to manage a crisis. They have the financial clout (mainly through immediate loans from oil-rich Abu Dhabi) and decisiveness to do whatever it takes to put things right.
In my opinion, Dubai is currently cleaning out the cobwebs and is positioning itself for its next growth spurt. Businesses have been purging staff for the past 2 years and are very lean at the moment. Any small uptick in the economy is going to cause a big need for staff.
The trigger will be the 2020 Expo which takes place in October.
Having said that, let’s look at how you can go about finding a job in Dubai.
The vast majority of the workforce are expats who are citizens from other countries. To work in Dubai you will need a work visa. Although it is possible to get your own work visa, most visas are obtained by the hiring companies on a quota basis. It’s therefore easier to concentrate your efforts on finding a job and leave the visa processing up to the company.
Your job hunting can start in your home country with job boards like www.bayt.com, www.gulftalent.com, www.dubaijobs.net, and many others. What is more effective is to take a “job-seeking” vacation in Dubai. Being on the ground gives you multiple advantages over remote job seekers. You can attend interviews in person and it shows a prospective employer that you are truly serious about the process.
Most travellers will need to get a tourist visa to get into the Emirates and you can extend this up to 90 days. Some countries do not require advance visas and you can literally walk into the Emirates and stay for up to 30 days (extendable to 60 days) if you hold a passport from any of the following countries:
Be warned though that you will be breaking the law (with harsh penalties) if you try and work without having a work visa. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Dubai has been known as a construction site for the past 20 years which led to many jobs on offer in the construction and related industries. I personally think that Dubai has matured, that there are enough buildings and metros and the next growth phase will focus on white-collar business and tourism. With the upcoming 2020 Expo these are probably going to be the jobs that are most in-demand:
One other avenue to pursue is within your own private networks. A large proportion of positions are advertised by word-of-mouth. If you know someone working in Dubai, ask that person to enquire on your behalf.
As always, your CV is the entry point to getting into the system. Make sure that it is the best it can possibly be. A great CV won’t necessarily get you the job but it will increase your chances of getting into the pipeline. A poor CV, on the other hand, can easily end things for you, regardless of how good you actually are.
Make sure also that your CV is factual and that it matches your online persona (Facebook, LinkedIn).
Lastly, don’t apply for positions that you’re not qualified for. Just because a company’s profile excites you doesn’t mean that they’ll feel likewise. Enthusiasm is not really a skill.